Have a Coke in the Morning

Posted on January 16, 2007

More Americans than ever are having a Coke or other carbonated beverage in the mornings instead of coffee.
It's not unusual for Dee McKinsey to have three cans of Coke before she leaves the house each morning for her job as the regional director of boards and volunteerism at the American Cancer Society in Chicago. "There is nothing better than the feel of Coke on the back of your throat in the morning," said McKinsey, a morning pop drinker since the 1970s, savoring the cold, stinging sensation that coffee drinkers just don't get. But these days, more people are enjoying that chilled morning jolt as they increasingly turn to soft drinks instead of coffee, flaunting mom's no-pop-for-breakfast rule many had in their youth.

Consumption of soft drinks at breakfast eaten outside the home has nearly doubled in the past 15 years, while coffee consumption with breakfast outside the home has fallen nearly 25 percent, according to data compiled by New-York based consumer research firm NPD Group, which has offices in Rosemont. The data is specific to drinks with meals and does not, for example, address the Starbucks phenomenon.

Breakfast consumers order a soft drink with their breakfast 15.1 percent of the time, compared with 7.9 percent of the time in 1990, said Harry Balzer, an NPD executive vice president who has studied American eating habits for more than 25 years. At the same time, Balzer said, coffee was being ordered 38 percent of the time, compared with 48.7 percent 15 years ago. It probably is not surprising that soft drinks are a growing choice at breakfast considering that nearly half of the U.S. population older than age 4 consumes soft drinks on any given day, according a study commissioned by a milk group.

And consumers are drinking soda for breakfast at home more frequently, too, though not in the same numbers. Balzer said 2.4 percent of the people who ate breakfast at home in 2006 consumed a soft drink with breakfast, compared with 0.5 percent in 1985. Most morning consumers prefer fully sugared regular pop, but diet soda consumption continues to grow in the mornings. In 2006, 5.3 percent of those eating breakfast away from home had a diet pop, while 9.8 percent had a regular soda. Diet pop accompanied 1.7 percent of breakfasts in 1990, according to NPD.
The article goes on to describe morning commuters and their pop habits. One guy has to have an extra Moutain Dew in his briefcase or he gets "desperate." Have you ever opened a can of pop after it's been rattling around in a backpack or briefcase for hours? It's like an instant Coke Bomb. Maybe this guy needs to just carry more quarters with him. Who wants a warm, shaken Mountain Dew as a pick me up?

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